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John Cage

Hymnkus Thoreau Drawings Two

Label: Another Timbre

Format: CD

Genre: Compositional

In stock


"Some years ago we performed the John Cage Thoreau Drawings work at dawn break in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on a rather chilly November morning. As a visual artist I have always delighted in Cage’s own visual art and its connections to nature and Henry David Thoreau. The graphical notational elements used in Cage’s score are not, however, his own, but derived from the many small sketches of plants and other natural ephemera found in Thoreau’s Journal, (which I highly recommend also as a portal into understanding much of Cage’s work of the 1970’s and 80’s.)

Since that dawn performance I have long wished to make a recording of the work. In our version (different numbers of parts and durations can be decided on in advance), I wanted there to be quite a number of instruments. The work was originally composed for a chamber orchestra and we decided to record one layer of the 7 instruments at our disposal and then add two others on top, mixed together. Each version adhered to the same timeline, thus we had a fuller sounding texture containing 21 musicians.

The resultant sound is a curious yet striking one, and each utterance of a line of notation is bookended with an equivalent duration of silence, as indicated in Cage’s instructions. The music is like a meta-forest of animal sounds, perhaps sounding not just ‘like’ nature, but more ‘of’ nature. When the music ends, and we are presented with the field recording made at Stony Point, NY, (where Cage lived at the time), by David Behrman in the early 1970’s, one is almost shocked by reality, and the artifice of Cage’s music is almost surreal in the memory." - Anton Lukoszevieze

Cat. number: at198
Year: 2022

Apartment House:
Anton Lukoszevieze, cello
Mira Benjamin & Gordon MacKay, violins
Kerry Yong, piano & keyboard
Gavin Morrison, alto flute
Heather Roche, clarinet
Raymond Brien, bass clarinet
Mark Knoop, piano
Kathryn Williams, flute
David Behrman, field recording